A fire at a feed supplement plant Friday is “devastating for the company and the community,” said Alliance Fire Chief Troy Shoemaker.
Firefighters from three fire departments fought a fire at the Vitalix plant in Alliance, NE, until early Friday afternoon.
Alliance firefighters spent about 12 hours fighting the fire and were joined by firefighters from Hemingford and Heart of the Hills fire departments, Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker said crews were dispatched to the fire at 1:15 a.m. and by then, some small explosions had been reported to have occurred in the building.
When crews got onsite, Shoemaker said, the north half of one of the buildings was already on the ground, destroyed by fire, and the fire was moving south into a warehouse. Shoemaker said the fire migrated from the north, south and west on the plant’s property and involved the entire manufacturing plant.
“We were behind (in fighting the fire) before we even got the call,” Shoemaker said, explaining firefighters had to shuttle water because there are no fire hydrants at the scene.
Shoemaker estimated the Vitalix facility is about 400,000 square feet and he said fire crews didn’t have enough water to get ahead of the blaze from the start. With a limited water supply, crews from Hemingford and Heart of the Hills responded and provided mutual aid.
“It took us a little bit to get ahead of it,” he said, explaining it was a very quick fire, complicated by factors such as grain in the facility, a lot of nooks and crannies in buildings and structural collapses.
Fortunately, Shoemaker said, the company didn’t have a night crew. No employees or firefighters were injured during the fire.
The Nebraska State Fire Marshal is on scene investigating the cause of the fire.